A few questions about mixers.

Discussion in 'Microphones, Speakers & Audio Processing' started by KA9MOT, Sep 13, 2012.

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  1. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm looking to ad a mixer in the near future to my station. As I peruse many of the Pro Audio sites I see there are different types of mixers. Specifically, there are non-powered, powered and USB Mixers.

    I'm not asking for advice on which one to buy, I'm just trying to understand the terminology.

    My station consists of a MXL-990 Condenser mic, Behringer MIC200 Preamp (which I hope to replace with the mixer) to a Kenwood TS-570SG.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think usually:

    Non-powered = does not provide "phantom power" to bias a condenser type microphone.

    Powered = does provide "phantom power" to bias a condenser type microphone.

    USB = features a converter for mike audio to USB, for use with a computer. If you're using your mike(s) with a transmitter, you don't need that.
  3. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK. It must be a secret science.

    I have learned some things I'll post here.

    Powered means it has an audio amplifier (many with 500W), and jacks to plug in speakers.

    USB means it will also send your audio for recording, podcast or anything else you might do, to the computer via the USB port.

    Anyway, as it turns out, these mixers do allot more then I would have ever expected. Even the cheap ones.

    WB2WIK, thanks for trying....... I appreciate it!

    Hopefully the next person who has these questions will see this post.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For a mixer? That would be a highly unusual definition. An amplifier that can drive speakers is never part of any mixer I've ever seen.

    This is as I said, but there's more to it than that. It can't "send" your audio via the USB port without first converting the sound from analog to digital. This requires active electronics in the mixer, and usually isn't necessary if the computer has an analog audio interface already (sound card). Even laptops have those.
  5. KA7GKN

    KA7GKN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll take a stab at the question...

    A USB mixer has it's output designed to specifically be connected to any USB port. For example you can go
    directly into your computer USB port. Behringer Xenyx X1204USB

    A powered mixer is nothing more than a "regular mixer" but it has an audio power amplifier built in. Behringer
    Euro-power PMP4000 800w per channel

    A non powered mixer has line level output with some offering a switch for mic level outputs. Behringer Xenyx X1202

    Some mixers are also available with battery power for remote usage.

    For Ham Radio audio rack use and processing you need any brand or style non powered or USB mixer.
    If you're not routing into a computer you can pass on the USB mixer style.

    typically...microphone...noise gate...equalizer/processor.....mixer...main mix out into radio line in or mic input
    The mixer will allow you to route the audio or insert reverb [minimal for the wet sound]

    Often the mixer can be placed in a way where you can choose different microphones..one per channel etc
    or... route your playbacks or route a telephone patch etc.

    You audio chain is often delineated by the radio you're using and what your audio goals are.

    Visit WWW.W3OZ.com and/or WWW.NU9N.com for more information in assembling an ESSB station.

    In some cases a mixer is really not necessary..for example using a W2IHY 8 band equalizer and his EQ-Plus
    system for one radio. In some cases depending upon the radio being used you may need a pad or the W2IHY I-Box.
    Visit his website for more details. He also now offers a means to select more than one radio known as the I-Plus.

    Finally visit Bob Heil's website as he offers a lot of information regarding a simple audio set up and answers questions
    regarding fighting RFI and eliminating ground loops etc.

    Enjoy the adventure and ignore the naysayers as this is part of the fun of ham Radio too.

    When you upgrade to Extra class stop by 14.178 ...sorry your license right now does not permit
    you to operate there. But listening in the peanut gallery offers you a way to glean some "stuff"

    Finally to understand ESSB/eSSB known as extended ssb audio or as some call it using the little "e"
    enhanced ssb audio got to WWW.ESSB.US

    John's website WWW.NU9N.COM should answer most of your questions

    Martin KA7GKN
  6. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Now we're talking. Thank you! That is exactly the information I was looking for.
  7. K4FLH

    K4FLH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm a retired soundman with 30+ years experience mixing music and theater . Please feel free to email me with any questions concerning boards and rack gear.
    I've seen some bad info here like, a non-powered board means it doesn't have 48 V for phantom. Non powered means that the board is passive with no amp built in.
  8. K6SPY

    K6SPY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Behringer 1222USB

    Wondering if has anyone used the Behringer 1222USB that has a built in EQ? I'm looking to pick up the W2IHY EQ plus and was considering using this mixer with it for an older Icom rig. I was also wanting a large number of inputs to run all my audio through the mixer.
  9. KC8RLU

    KC8RLU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Steve, I'll throw in my 2 cents...

    I, too am an FOH (Front Of House) sound engineer, both volunteer and paid.

    As you've discovered, a "powered" mixer simply has an amplifier built-in. The only reason to use this would be if you are going to perform live in public and want to consolidate your equipment; also works great if you have a small band and don't need a lot of power to be heard.

    A "non-powered" mixer is considered passive and is basically the mixer without a built-in amplifier. For that, you'll need a separate amp if you want to use it for P.A. (public address) or live performance situations. You can use these non-powered mixers in a home studio and/or radio shack, plus it can be attached to a radio.

    USB mixers typically are non-powered, but there may be some powered mixers that have USB input only. USB non-powered mixers give you the flexibility and ease when linking a computer together with the mixer. This can come in handy when you need to, for example, record a QSO or want to use digital technologies like Echo-link or combine a live QSO with Ustream. The only real difference when compared to regular non-powered mixers is that you won't have to buy any additional USB or digital to analog interfaces, like the Tascam USB-122 or equivalent or similar.

    All mixers can be attached to your radio(s), but you'll either need to buy or make the special cables to do the job. Check first with your radio's manufacturer and/or authorized retailers to see if they have such cables available. If not, you'll need to figure out the pin-outs for both the microphone and headphone jacks to build the cable. (Rant: HEY! Can some of you radio manufacturers include USB interface(s) with future radios, so not only for easy programming or whatnot, but also for audio input and output, especially for situations like this?...If you haven't already done so...)

    Most mixers do have built-in 48+V DC Phantom power. This means you can use most condenser microphones with the mixer without needing any extra phantom power supplies. The mixer will send positive 48 V DC through pin 2 on the XLR mic cable, pin 3 will be the return signal and pin 1 is the ground. Your MXL condenser mic is set up that way, so there shouldn't be any issues using it on your mixer of choice.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you will find a lot of mixers that will have a single phantom power switch. What this means is that when the switch is on, every single channel input will have phantom power enabled; when off, phantom power is disabled for them all. Some mixers, like the Soundcraft GB4 or GB8 or Allen & Heath Mix-wizard3 16:2 for example, have separate phantom power switches for each of their channel inputs. This is nice, since you can just allow phantom power to go to a single channel of choice, instead of them all at once. My personal preference is to never use phantom power on dynamic mics, even if the experts and other manufacturers say it is perfectly harmless to do so. I find that the phantom power does affect the dynamic mic and/or it's sound overall for the negative. Plus, this is important if you or someone else decides to use a ribbon mic instead; phantom power and ribbon mics do not mix, a very deadly combination for that type of mic.

    I hope this helps.

    73s de KC8RLU.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  10. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it has EQ built in, you won't need the W2IHY box, as I understand it. I think some folks use them for the noise gate.

    Cables are easy.
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